Catlin vows to keep current Pompey Academy set-up – despite losses

'SUSTAINABLE' Mark Catlin understands the need to develop homegrown players as Pompey begin rebuilding mission in League Two but is determined to limit the losses
'SUSTAINABLE' Mark Catlin understands the need to develop homegrown players as Pompey begin rebuilding mission in League Two but is determined to limit the losses
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Pompey deserved their win at Fleetwood, according to Alan Knight. Picture: Mark Robinson

Knight: Well-deserved Pompey win at Fleetwood

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Mark Catlin vowed to keep Pompey’s thriving Academy in its existing form.

But the chief executive has warned its losses must become ‘sustainable’ as he seeks to tighten up financially.

This season has witnessed the emergence of Academy products Dan Butler, Jed Wallace, Jack Maloney and Nick Awford into the first-team squad.

Meanwhile, Andy Awford’s side were crowned Youth Alliance South East league champions at the weekend following a 4-2 victory over Luton.

The youth set-up is clearly a crucial part of the club’s future as it seeks to rebuild and push on again from the confines of League Two.

There had been fears of age groups being scrapped and coaches made redundant ahead of the successful community ownership bid in an effort to trim losses Academy systems usually attract.

However, Catlin has reassured supporters the intention is to keep the existing Category 3 set-up under the new regime.

He said: ‘The plan at this moment in time is to keep the Academy in its current form but work on ways to bring in extra income.

‘Obviously the introduction of the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) has made a lot of clubs revisit whether they are going to carry on with it.

‘As a business you can never say what you are going to be doing in X amount of years down the line and I would never want to commit that long.

‘But we are committed to the Academy and I have been spending a lot of my time with Andy Awford working on how we can make it sustainable.

‘You only have to look now with your Wallaces, Butlers, Websters and Harris’ of the world at what a great job has been done.

‘Andy wants to expand it actually. He is knocking on my door and fighting hard. He loves the Academy.

‘We have got to get clever, we have got to generate more income.

‘As a person I am not naturally a slasher, it is more “right we have got that expense, how do we cover that expense?”

‘Academies make losses but the losses have to be sustainable.

‘You have got to off-set the losses against the potential benefit to the club, i.e. potential future sales of players who have come through.

‘Under the EPPP rules there is a certain criteria you need to meet and if you paid everyone the minimum wage you would still make a loss.

‘Academies lose money, there is no way around it. That is the fact of it. It’s a case of how much money we lose.

‘But getting rid of age groups is not in the plans. It will stay in its existing form.’

The Academy have staged several fund-raising initiatives over the past year.

And it’s something Catlin is adamant is the way forward.

He added: ‘There have been losses you would expect for a Premier League and Championship club – that was the set-up.

‘We need to get those losses down to what you would expect a League One or League Two club to lose because that is where we now are.

‘There are simple things we can do to bring in income like end-of-season gala dinners for parents, Christmas gala dinners and sponsorship deals.’